Jan 9, 2017

4 Little Changes That Can Make a Big Difference to Your PPC Campaign

by Digital Marketing Institute

Digital tools and channels have become a great leveller for businesses across every industry, so gaining both brand visibility and a competitive edge have become increasingly difficult goals to attain. Paid advertising is an undeniable necessity if you want to secure any chance of competing on SERPs and converting customers.

PPC has the capability to drive positive results and revenue for any brand, regardless of their budget size. It’s a cost-effective, efficient bidding model that provides you with full and detailed control over your budget. With well-executed ads and strategic targeting options in place, PPC advertising can help you to target the right user at the right time, and maximize your spend in the process. Yet according to Unbounce, 98% of advertisers are wasting money on ads.

It’s not enough to recognize the benefits of PPC – you need to be able to create and implement your campaigns effectively. It can often be a difficult discipline to master, which is why we’ve decided to share with you 4 little changes that can make a big difference to your PPC campaign.

1. Split test ad copy

When running, PPC campaigns are incredibly easy to manage and measure, but the initial setup is extensive- from building out target audience segments and keyword lists to setting budgets, choosing the right targeting options and, finally, creating the ads themselves. In this context, the prospect of implementing and testing multiple ad variations can seem like a somewhat onerous exercise. However, if you take the time to run split tests on your ads, you’ll be able to gain invaluable insights that will reveal the best approach for your PPC campaign and enable you to maximize your conversion rate.

The overall goal of any effective PPC campaign is to drive audiences to a landing page or social media profile and encourage them to take a follow-on action, be it “liking” your brand’s Facebook page or purchasing a product. With a few simple optimizations this can be easy to achieve, but it’s telling that only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates.

When possible, you should create at least two variations of an ad. Elements you can split test include:

  • Headlines: Is a short, succinct headline more effective than a longer detailed one?
  • Descriptions: Should you focus on product features and benefits or use your characters more creatively to try and pique a user’s curiosity?
  • Calls-To-Action: Is “Lean More” that little bit more persuasive than “Buy Now”?

By analyzing the effectiveness of each ad (it’s advisable to run each one for at least a week so you can measure a more substantial set of results) you should eventually end up with the perfectly performing copy!

2. Use images

The performance of text ads will vary per campaign and depends on a number of factors, including your targeting options and overall objectives. Since the release of Google AdWords’ expanded text ads last year, advertisers have had the opportunity to communicate to potential customers in a greater level of detail with additional characters. In fact, most have seen at least a 28% increase in CTR.

Nevertheless, an enhanced PPC campaign should comprise both text and image ads so you can benefit from a variety of content types and campaign messaging.

Image and video ads provide the perfect opportunity to showcase your brand in a visually impactful way. On the Google Display Network, for example, you can select and upload an image, as well as your brand’s logo. On social media, native advertising such as sponsored updates fits seamlessly into a user’s newsfeed – and the likelihood of accumulating clicks increases exponentially if you include a picture or video. It’s also a much more effective way of making your campaign messaging memorable - when people hear information, they're likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.

Imagery is an exemplary way to enhance engagement and extend your brand’s reach. For example, the beer brand Heineken Light created a Facebook video ad campaign that reached 54% of its target audience (which was 35 million people) and grew its brand awareness by 11% in only 3 days.

The beer brand Heineken Light created a Facebook video ad campaign that reached 54% of its target audience (which was 35 million people) and grew its brand awareness by 11% in only 3 days.

3. Organize your account structure

Much like creating multiple ad variations, correctly arranging your AdWords or Facebook account structure can seem unnecessarily time-consuming, especially when you’re not starting from scratch. But if you want to guarantee the best possible conversation rates for your campaigns, this simple act of organization is essential.

Within your account, you should have a number of campaigns in order to effectively track your advertising performance. A campaign will, in turn, contain a number of different ad groups. Campaigns can be defined by a number of factors, such as your overall budget, or the geographical locations in which you want to display your ads. For example, you may be an online fashion retailer whose top customer segments are located in the UK and Ireland, and you may want to create two separate campaigns for those British and Irish customers.

Within a campaign, there will be a number of ad groups. It’s important to make sure that these ad groups are small and streamlined in their focus. You may want to organize your ad groups so you have one per product page or category for example. The smaller your ad group, the more focused your keywords will be, and the more relevant your ad will become by default.

Similarly, organizing keywords for better relevancy within your ad groups is equally important if you want to achieve higher CTRs and increased conversions.

4. Utilize negative keywords

Another often overlooked but all-important aspect of any PPC campaign is negative keywords. You may spend a significant amount of time conducting keyword research and trying to strike the perfect balance between broad, phrase and exact match types, but what about the search terms that you don’t want associated with your ads and wasting your budget? Adding negative keywords is an important action to take because they maintain the high level of relevancy that you should be aiming to achieve with your campaign.

A solid starting point is to think of any phrases and keywords you don’t want your ads to be triggered by, and add them to your negative keywords list. From there, you can adopt a more granular approach, such as adding search terms that may be similar to your chosen keywords but actually relate to a different product or service.

Regularly reviewing your search terms reports in Google AdWords will let you see how your ads performed when triggered by actual searches. Find out which terms that aren’t relevant to your brand have been used, and you can quickly add them to your negative keywords list.

Using the example of an online fashion retailer again, you may want to include negative keywords such as “article”, and “pictures” to reduce the likelihood of your ad being displayed to a window shopper who probably isn’t inclined to make a purchase.

Adding negative keywords is an important action to take because they maintain the high level of relevancy that you should be aiming to achieve with your campaign.

Are you running a particularly successful PPC campaign? What optimizations do you think have made the biggest difference? Let us know your thoughts and share your PPC ad experiences in the comments section below!

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